Southern Utah is filled with a bunch of boring small towns with nothing to do. THIS IS WHAT I USED TO BELIEVE!!! Silly right! Our recent weekend in Cedar City blows this thinking right out of the water.
Not only did we manage to have a fun, action-packed weekend in Cedar City but we even got in a little culture.....take that big city adventurers.....haha!
When most people think of Southern Utah they think desert and warm but Cedar City is located in a transition zone between desert and mountain environments with average summertime high temperatures of about 90 degrees F, and average wintertime lows of about 17 degrees F.
Cedar City also gets about 110 inches of snow per year which makes it a great destination for some family winter fun.
We don't get a chance to play in the snow often living in Hurricane, so with Cedar City being just 45 minutes away, I decided to plan a little family winter staycation. It was the perfect weekend mixed with snowmobiling, snow tubing, a visit to the Southern Utah Museum of Art, a mystical magical hot spring and a beautiful, snowy drive through the recently reopened Kolob Canyons.
OVERVIEW OF OUR WEEKEND ITINERARY
FRIDAY - BRIAN HEAD UT
11am Snowmobiling with Thunder Mountain Motorsports
1pm lunch at Pizanos
4pm Snow Tubing at Brian Head Resort
SATURDAY - CEDAR CITY/MONROE UT
10am Frontier Homestead Stake Park Museum/Ice Skating
12pm Lunch at Centro Wood Fired Pizza
1pm Southern Utah Museum of Art
5pm Mystic Hot Springs
SUNDAY - KOLOB CANYONS
Drive through Kolob Canyons
Brian Head is located just 30 minutes from Cedar City and is a perfect destination for winter sports in Southern Utah. When we were trying to figure out what activities we wanted to do in Brian Head I was tempted to spend the day teaching the kids how to ski/snowboard but I was a little nervous about how they would do. Flashbacks filled my head of my own childhood experience of learning to ski. Let's just say there were lots of tears involved.
So we decided to do a snowmobiling tour and snow tubing instead and I am so glad that we did! Our day in Brian Head was a total hit with the kids.
We planned our 1.5-hour snowmobile tour with Thunder Mountain Motor Sports for 11 am. As soon as we checked in we got completely suited up from head to toe in gear to keep us warm and dry. All the gear that we didn't have we were able to borrow from Thunder Mountain.
Getting a family of 5 suited up is no small task and during all the chaos that ensued, I had serious doubts about whether or not all this work was going to be worth it.
Luckily our tour guide, Mike was super patient with us while we dealt with tantrums and missing clothes. Phoenix, my 3-year-old did not want to wear his helmet but as soon as we got outside and he got to sit on one of the snowmobiles he was good to go.
It turned out that all the work paid off......big time. Mike was so good with the kids and driving the snowmobile was more fun than I ever could have imagined (except for the time that I didn't make my turn and I got stuck in a snow bank.....whoops!).
Mike stopped us regularly to let us get off the snowmobiles and play in the snow. It was so beautiful! Our favorite stop was at a really cool old dilapidated yellow school bus......a photographers dream. Mike also took us to an amazing overlook called Bear Canyon.
The kids loved every minute of the adventure except for poor Willow who got cold hands towards the end. Note to self, buy Willow better winter gloves.
The 1.5-hour tour was $105 per snowmobile & $20 for each additional passenger. Book your tour here.
After the tour, we headed over to Pizanos for lunch. I got a really great chicken parmesan sandwich and Chris and the kids split a pepperoni pizza. The food and the service were great.
The kiddos were a little tired and cranky after lunch so we drove around for a bit to let them warm-up and take a nap. While everyone was sleeping in the car I headed over to get tickets for snow tubing at Brian Head Resort. Luckily they were starting a new 1.5-hour session soon so we didn't have to wait long for our turn.
Right from the getgo, the kids were in love with snow tubing. They loved every minute of riding the escalator up the hill and zooming down. No complaining about being cold or tired, they just wanted to fly down the hill as many times as they possibly could. I have to admit I thought it was pretty fun too. Those tubes were fast!
Tickets were $20 per person (child & adult) for a 1.5-hour session. Book online here.
We were planning to head over to go ice skating at the Glacier Ice Rink after breakfast but the rink was located outdoors and the wind was blowing pretty hard. It looked like a storm was rolling in. Our next option on the list was Frontier Holmstead State Park Museum but since much of it is also outdoors that was out too. So guess what we did! We took the kids to the McDonalds Playland. You do what you gotta do when vacationing with kids right!
I had heard great things about Centro Wood Fired Pizza so we headed there for lunch. It was such a cool and modern place. It felt like we were in a big city. The quality of the pizza was top notch and I was in love with the design of the restaurant.
With the weather still not great we needed something to do indoors so we decided to go check out the Southern Utah Museum of Art. It didn't seem like the ideal activity with kids but oh my gosh was I wrong!
The museum was small but really beautiful and I loved all the landscape paintings that they were showcasing. The art is changed out often.
There is no entrance fee. It is all based on donations so you can donate as much or as little as you would like.
From the moment we stepped into the museum one of the sweetest volunteers took my girls under her wing and walked them through the entire museum. She was so great with the girls. My 9-year-old, Lucy is starting to get into drawing and it was so good for her to have someone talk to her about art in a really fun and enjoyable way. I could see Lucy's little imagination just spinning.
We got so lucky because the museum does a free family art day once a month (we had no idea about this) and turns out it was happening in an hour! The craft was so much fun for the kids. I even got in on the action and made my own art project. We will definitely be back for family art day again soon.
After our fun at the museum, we headed to the hotel, quickly changed into swimming suits and made the drive to Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe UT.
Mystic Hot Springs has been on my bucket list for a while now and since we were staying in Cedar City and it was only a 1.5-hour drive it seemed like the perfect evening activity.
On a Saturday evening, the springs were pretty busy but we all had such an amazing time. The girls made friends quickly and Phoenix and I got lucky with one of the best tubs on the property.
After our late night, we had a slow morning eating breakfast and checking out of the hotel.
Please note that small Utah towns pretty much shut down on Sundays. Finding a local coffee shop that was open on Sunday was a bit of a challenge. They do have a Starbucks in Cedar but I really wanted something local. I finally found 21eleven Coffee at the outskirts of town and luckily the coffee was top notch.
We made one last stop at the McDonalds playland to let the kiddos get out some energy and then we headed to Kolob Canyons to do the scenic drive.
Kolob Canyons is a less busy section of Zion that is just 20 minutes south of Cedar City. It had been closed since May of 2018 for road work and just reopened so I was so excited to drive through.
The drive was so gorgeous with the red snow cover mountains. If the kids weren't so tired from our weekend adventures I would have hustled them out of the car to do a little hiking & playing in the snow. Oh well. There is always next time.
Where to Stay
For our weekend staycation, we stayed at Abbey Inn and loved it. It was priced great and central to everything. I think they must have recently remodeled because the rooms felt brand new. They also had a really great continental breakfast and indoor pool. I super highly recommend.
So what do you think? Are you ready to head to Southern Utah for some winter fun? I hope I have inspired you to add another Southern Utah town to your bucket list. Stay tuned because we will be doing a summer staycation in Cedar City and I can't wait to show you how much fun this little town is in the summer!
OTHER SOUTHERN UTAH WINTER ITINERARIES TO CHECK OUT